“Beacon of Endurance” will be an obelisk emblazoned
with words describing Lincoln’s inspiring legacy and some of his
most striking quotes. At night, the beacon will project
inspirational – and aspirational – words about American society onto
the museum’s east wall.
Exactly which words the sculpture will include has not been
determined yet. An advisory panel will help the presidential library
and the sculptor decide in the months ahead. As the project
develops, the public will also get a chance to share ideas through
“Beacon of Endurance” was designed by BJ Krivanek of the Chicago
firm Krivanek+Breaux/Art+Design. When completed, it will stand at
the museum’s southeast corner, at the intersection of Jefferson and
Seventh streets. The sculpture is 24 feet, 10 inches tall and
slightly tilted “to suggest human and constitutional traumas and
vulnerabilities,” Krivanek said.
The bottom, where Lincoln quotes will be inscribed, will weather and
rust over time. Above that, in impervious stainless steel, will be
individual words about Lincoln’s character and principles.
At night, the structure will project “societal ideals
and issues onto the museum walls, to become a beacon of American
endurance through decades of history that is still unfolding,”
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“We are excited to bring this important work to our site,” said
Lance Tawzer, exhibits director at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and
Museum and one of the people who selected Krivanek+ Breaux’s proposal. “The
sculpture will identify the museum to people approaching from the east and, more
importantly, inspire reflection and discussion about Lincoln for generations to
The presidential library will assemble members of the community to help
determine the wording on the beacon. Suggestions received via social media will
be shared with this group to help in its decision-making.
The $223,000 project is made possible by the Illinois Capital
Development Board’s Art-in-Architecture program. The board reserves one-half of
one percent of the cost of state building and renovation projects to purchase
public art. Since its inception in 1977, it has purchased or commissioned nearly
1,000 works by Illinois artists.
“Throughout its history, Illinois has always supported great public art. CDB is
proud to partner with the ALPLM to bring this moving piece to life for the
people of Illinois,” said Jim Underwood, executive director of the Capitol
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum uses a combination of
rigorous scholarship and high-tech showmanship to immerse visitors in Lincoln’s
life and times. The library holds an unparalleled collection of Lincoln books,
documents, photographs, artifacts and art, as well as some 12 million items
pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history.
For more information, visit
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum]